How much weight can a horse carry? The general recommendation is no more than 20% of their body weight. Meaning a horse that weights 600 kgs can comfortably carry 120 kgs. Of course, this varies to the individual horse, the type of riding you do, and what you are expecting the horse to do while carrying said weight. 

When it comes to pulling- i.e in harness, it is obviously more, as gravity isn’t coming into effect. A mature, fit pair of Clydesdales in ‘working’ times, would regularly haul 6T and the world record is a whopping 48T. 

This blog however is about a different type of weight. If you want to read purely about horses, perhaps stop reading now. Horses are incredible at carrying huge amounts of emotional weight. Their non-judgemental nature and unconditional acceptance just make them such an incredible therapist. 

Recently I found my father deceased on his kitchen floor. Now, I’m from a split family. I didn’t have much to do with my dad growing up. I got a very one-sided version of who my dad was. Really it wasn’t until I was in my early 20’s, when I needed somewhere for my horses and me to live, and he welcomed me with open arms, that I learned more about what he was like as a person.  The thing is, he was just like my mum used to say, only now I could understand him a bit better. 

My dad after splitting with his second wife, descended into a wormhole of hate, conspiracy and depression. He couldn’t find his way out. It was like when his second wife left, his heart died. Dad became a recluse hoarder, spending every day wishing to no longer be alive. 

After 20 years of not having a dad, and then meeting him for a short period, I lost him again. Even the arrival of his grandkids wasn’t enough to encourage him to seek help. 

For many years we tried to get him help, but the system couldn’t help him unless he would help himself. ‘He can live however he wants to live’ is the feedback we would get. 

When we found him dead earlier this month, it was almost a relief to know he was no longer suffering, or in pain. I hope he is now in a better place. 

How is this relevant to you, as a follower of my carriage page? I suppose it isn’t hugely, but may help you understand some of my recent posts. 

Dad didn’t want to be cremated. His final wishes were to buried at Milang, next to his mum. Dad was a supporter of my carriage business. He was never out there vocally supporting, or assisting, but he was always there to run an idea past or lend us some money if we were short. 

It was for these reasons, we decided to take him on his final journey on the London trolley, pulled by Angus. Right back 7 years ago, when we were deliberating about buying a pair of unbroken young Clydesdales, dad was a sounding board for us. He encouraged us to take the plunge, he has followed Angus’ training throughout. 

It seemed very fitting, that dad would be Angus’ first funeral transportation. A funeral in itself is a very daunting task, but the first of any type of job is always very nerve-wracking. 

Angus is wise beyond his years. We harnessed him up and connected the trolley. He stood patiently, while we loaded dads coffin, and secured it with straps. 

The journey from the meeting point to the oval was about 2 km, and a mixture of dirt roads and bitumen. Angus marched proudly along, like he’d been doing it all his life. He arrived at the cemetery, boldly and without hesitation, taking in all the sites and the people. I was initially concerned he would be unnerved by the people gathered by the gate, but he understood his job and marched proudly to the graveside. 

Angus carried immeasurable emotional weight that day. He carried years of the built up anger that I held towards my dad, for not being part of my early life. He carried years of frustration that dad wouldn’t accept help to defeat his own demons. He carried the disturbing visions we have of finding him decomposing on his kitchen floor. He carried the anguish I felt knowing that I will never be able to talk to dad ever again. He carried my nerves, of what if his training hasn’t prepared him for this. 

Angus was infallible. He was rock solid. Wise beyond his years. Angus just carried all of that weight that I put on him and he carried it proudly. Maybe there is something in this ‘horse therapy’ business after all. 

5 Responses

  1. My sincere sympathies for all the hurt and pain both you and your Dad suffered over the years.
    Hopefully Angus taking your Dad on his final journey will help the healing as your Dad was a huge support in your business endeavours with the horses 🐴

  2. A wonderful article Shaye that says so much about what you have needed to deal with lately. Although there were many issues in your relationship with your Dad it’s good to know that you still could discuss ideas with him. So glad that he obviously had a relationship with Angus and so very appropriate that it was Angus who took him to his grave. You have incredible strength Shaye and I really admire you for that.

  3. I have followed your progress since I came upon Facebook, as a fellow horse lover. Thankyou for all your beautiful posts, and the pictures of the family, human and equine. I used to live in Goolwa but 12 months ago we moved to Crystal Brook, and your posts keep me grounded in the Fleurieu. I’m sorry your relationship with your father was so difficult, thankyou for sharing with us, I hope it has helped. I’m really looking forward to reading your blogs, and seeing you and the horses go on to bigger and better things!

    All the best from me – Chris

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